- February 2, 2021
A shoot out between a Volusia County deputy and Port Orange police resulted in the death of an armed suspect on Oct. 31.
The shooting happened around 10:45 p.m. at the 7-Eleven at 1632 Taylor Road, in Port Orange, according to a Volusia County Sheriff's Office press release. The suspect, 32-year-old John Wurms, was wounded on his head and was transported by Air One to Halifax Health Medical Center in Daytona Beach, where he was pronounced dead. No others were injured.
All officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, which is the standard procedure, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is conducting an investigation, according to the press release. As of Nov. 16, the Port Orange Police Department had not received any results from FDLE's investigation.
Law enforcement already was searching for Wurms for threatening his former girlfriend and those close to her, said Sheriff Mike Chitwood at a press conference on Nov. 1.
On Oct. 27, DeLand police received a report that the new boyfriend of Wurms' former girlfriend had 11 tires slashed on vehicles at his home, according to the sheriff's office. The following day, Holly Hill police received a report from the former girlfriend that Wurms was harassing and threatening her.
An officer parked outside her home and spotted Wurms at her home preparing to slash her tires. He was arrested on charges of aggravated stalking and loitering and prowling, and an injunction for protection was issued.
On Oct. 31, the father of the new boyfriend reported that Wurms was again threatening to come back and slash more tires. Holly Hill police had also developed information that Wurms was armed and planning on harming someone.
Around 10:30 the same day, Holly Hill police were at the former girlfriend’s home when they spotted Wurms.
Wurms fled on a motorcycle. A Volusia County detective spotted him on his way to another crime scene and called other officers in the area. Deputy Devin Lafoucade spotted the motorcycle on Interstate 95 and followed him to the 7-Eleven on Taylor Rd., where called for backup and two Port Orange officers arrived, Chitwood said.
Body cam footage showed Wurms leaving the store. Deputies instructed him to take his hands out of his pockets. He revealed his weapon and began running. Wurms pointed the gun to his head and to the officers.
In the body cam footage, officers run after Wurms, asking him to stop and put his gun down. Then, shots were fired.
Chitwood said 16 shots were fired, and three wounded the suspect, however, they still are investigating ballistics to determine if the bullets came from the officers' guns or from Wurms' gun.
Port Orange Police Chief Thomas Grimaldi said these are risks officers face often, and the safety of the residents and officers is paramount. Though unfortunate, the suspect had control of the situation and made the wrong decision, he said.
"Someone lost their life, and it's unfortunate because it didn't have to happen," Grimaldi said.
Chitwood said he spoke with Wurms' parents, who both were deputies in Broward County.
Wurms had a history of aggressive behavior dating back to 2008, and they've tried to get him help. Four other victims reported similar behavior he displayed this week with the most recent victim.
Also, in July 2018, Port Orange police received a call from Wurms' former girlfriend. She reported that Wurms was suicidal, but did not want to kill himself. Instead, he told her he'd pull out the handgun he kept in his dashboard and point it at police so they could shoot him, Chitwood said.
Chitwood said the first priority is ensuring the physical and mental health of his officers involved in the shooting last night. He said they were lucky no one else was hurt last night.
"Contrary to what people think, there is a lot of violence that happens in our cities and around the county," he said. "There are people who want to challenge law enforcement, and this guy last night had nothing to lose."